Says Atiku team can only peep into the venue 48 hours to event
·Vows that APC’s Tonye Cole must refund $50m to the state coffers
By Ignatius Chukwu
Atiku Abubakar presidential campaign rally scheduled for February 11, 2023, in Port Harcourt looks shaky as Gov Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has threatened to cancel the approval given for use of the stadium if the campaigners in the state insist on accessing the venue before 48 hours to event.
Abubakar is the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) but Gov Wike, a PDP staunch member, has led four other governors to block the candidate’s chances hinging his action on demand that the party chairman, Iorchia Ayu, a northerner, must relinquish the position to the south.
The crisis has caused a lot of rumpus in Rivers State where some chieftains led by Okrika-born Abiye Sekibo have formed alliance with Abubakar.
Despite Order 21 and 22 prescribing stringent conditions to hold rallies, the Abubakar group applied for the use of the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium in Port for the presidential campaign in the Garden City.
In a twist, however, Gov Wike who announced approval for the venue has announced conditions for the approval and added that it was at no cost to Abubakar’s rally in the Garden City.
The governor, however, declared that the Stadium would only be made accessible to the Abubakar presidential campaign council 48 hours to the event, February 11th, 2023.
Gov Wike, who disclosed this while speaking at the campaign flag-off rally by the Rivers State PDP Campaign Council in Oyigbo Local Government Area on Friday, said the Director-General of the PCC in Rivers State, Abiye Sekibo, has no right to want to take possession of the stadium one month before the date of the stipulated event.
He warned Sekibo not to provoke the Rivers State government by allegedly desperately wanting to take possession of the State-owned stadium weeks to the campaign, or else the approval will be cancelled.
Gov Wike, however, said by the approval he signed, Sekibo and his group can only begin to access the stadium two days to the event to verify and put in place what they required for their rally.
“Let me also use this opportunity to warn Abiye Sekibo, we have made approval for your presidential candidate to use Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium, February 11th, but you have no right to begin to go to the stadium now. We cannot give you access to the stadium now. We can only give you access to the stadium two days to the occasion for you to prepare.
“Nobody gave you one month. So, if you dare it again, to go and force yourself into the stadium, I will cancel the approval with immediate effect. Dare it again, I will cancel it. Heaven will not fall. In fact, if heaven falls now, we will be happy that it was in our time heaven came down.”
The governor wondered why Dr. Sekibo was acting against the approval given to him and said it appears that he is finding a reason to blame in the event that the rally fails.
“I know you are not ready to do that rally. You are only looking for excuse. But you must do it. I know you are going to import people, no problems, go and import. We have given you the stadium.”
Gov Wike also took a swipe at the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State for blaming the crisis that greeted the campaign of its governorship candidate in Mile one Diobu, Port Harcourt, on Thursday.
The governor stressed that APC became a victim to the brewing crisis between the two factions in Rumuwoji community because they did not address their demand adequately.
Otherwise, Gov Wike wondered why APC did not encounter crisis with their rallies when they used the Tipper Park in Etche Local Government and the IYM secretariat in Ikwerre Local Government.
The governor asked them to stop complaining if they were not ready for the forthcoming general election because the PDP in the state was fully prepared for the election.
Gov Wike mocked the senator, Andrew Uchendu, saying despite serving in several administrations, he failed to attract development project to his Mgbuitanwo community.
According to him, it was his administration that contracted Julius Berger to construct internal roads fitted with street light in Mgbuitanwo.
The governor stressed that the APC governorship candidate, Tonye Cole, in collusion with the immediate past administration of Gov Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, sold the State gas turbines and diverted $50 Million from the State account.
Gov Wike said the APC governorship candidate was now facing criminal charges with the state government demanding from him to refund the $50million, which he said the state wants to use for development projects.
“Go and bring our money back. We want to use the money to develop the people of Oyigbo, to develop the people of Rivers State.”
The governor further accused the APC governorship candidate of masterminding the killing of scores of persons in Abonnema by the military during the 2019 general election.
The Rivers State governor told the Oyigbo people to know that the PDP governorship candidate, Opobo-born Siminialayi Fubara, would continue from where his administration will stop and would also consolidate on the gains made already.
In his address, Rivers State PDP governorship candidate, Fubara, issued stern warning to Tonye Cole to focus on his campaign and leave him (Fubara) out of his affairs.
Fubara insisted that his administration when elected would follow in the footsteps of the outgoing government on the slogan of continuity and consolidation.
According to him, he would build on the infrastructural development secured by the Wike administration in Oyigbo, sustain the gains in security, deepen provision of quality educational infrastructure, create conducive business climate to promote small scale businesses, while improving on the quality of life of the citizenry.
Director General of Rivers State PDP Campaign Council, Felix Obuah, said Gov Wike has done so well and Fubara will consolidate on his achievements.
Rivers State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Desmond Akawor, presented the flag of the party to candidates contesting the various elective position.
Senator Barinada Mpigi, who spoke on behalf of the candidates, said they were fully ‘Sim-plifed”, willing to serve the interest of their constituents and the state at large. He said they would do all that Wike has asked them to do.
Former leader of Oyigbo Legislative Assembly, Ebe Owulo, said the projects delivered by Gov Wike in Oyigbo have collapsed the opposition party in the area.